As much as I love books, they can be rather unrealistic.
No I’m not asking to know every time dear character Jane needs to pee. I’m talking about realistic details that often get left out to make us wonder what dark wizardry is going on in this universe where no one has blood-sugar crashes or greasy hair.
“But Cait,” you say, rather patiently, because you foresee me shuffling my note cards and getting ready to give a lecture on hair maintenance * and you want to avoid that at all costs, “books are FICTION! They can’t be 100% realistic all of the time!”
This is true. I concede. Do you know how much mumbling and ums and awkward coughs happen in everyday real-people dialogue? TOO MUCH. Reading it would drive you to capture a pigeon, saddle it, and try to fly off Mt. Everest upon its back while screaming a battle cry to the tune of Let It Go. I get that books can’t be realistic all of the time. But is it too much to ask for more realistic details to make me feel less like I’m reading a book and more like I’m having an ACTUAL ADVENTURE WITHIN THE PAGES!?!?
Because the best part of reading is forgetting it’s just a book, because it becomes your entire world. **
Today I’m listing 10 unrealistic shennanigans that happen in books and giving you the cold hard facts of truth instead.
* HONEY. THAT IS COMING TO YOU WHETHER YOU TRY TO AVOID IT OR NOT. I’m very passionate about fabulous hair.
** This is why 45% of human deaths are not due to sharks, but actually due to bookworms murdering people who interrupt them while reading. That’s a true statistic. Look it up on any internet you know.
1. EVERYONE HAS SUCH NICE HAIR ALL THE TIME.
As much as I adore hair * and wish everyone on earth had a mane of glory to whip about and smite enemies with — we have to face the truth. HAIR IS DOWNRIGHT FRUSTRATING AND NEEDS MAINTENANCE. Especially if it’s long. How on earth do these heroines go through a dystopian apocalypse without their hair looking like an electrocuted unwashed troll nest??? You know what else happens with hair? It gets in your food. It gets caught in doors. People touch it all the time if it’s nice/thick/long and you have to refrain from killing them. ** Plus GREASINESS. No one’s taking their apple-scented shampoo out with the zombies.
Also why do so many girls’ in YA books hair smell like strawberry or coconut or the meadows of the pure of heart? I mean. Where are they even stashing this shampoo on their quests?
How did Legolas get all the way out to Sauron’s eyeball with his tresses in even flat rows? What was the conversation like???
Aragon: You have my sword!
Gimli: And my axe!
Legolas: And my moisturising-scalp anti-tangle vanilla shampoo and hair straightener.
Legolas: Oh and bow.
But really, bless Legolas. I do love
his hair and his 3 lines in 3 movies him.
* No really. I only watch movies / tv shows if they have fabulous flowing locks. Case in point: Jon Snow.
** Or don’t. I won’t tell you how to live our life. But 90% of the reason I changed to short hair was because people kept TOUCHING MY HIP LENGTH LONG HAIR and saying “Ooooh! It’s so long!” like I perhaps hadn’t noticed.
2. THEY SKIP MEALS AND NO ONE COMMITS MURDER DUE TO BEING #HANGRY.
Surely it isn’t me who gets low-blood-sugar at inopportune moments or destroys a small planet in the far galaxies if I get too hungry before lunch? Hmm???? HOW DO THESE CHARACTERS NEVER GET #HANGRY. *
It makes sense for characters who are used to not eating. But not for those whipped off on an unforeseen adventure.
And let’s not get started on these characters who see a battle/blood and then can’t eat for 3 days. Dude. I’ll set my pigeons on you.
* A word here which means “hungry + angry” and is a state of rage that a person cannot be blamed for and is best treated with liberal doses of pancakes and coffee.
3. SHORT PEOPLE DON’T HAVE SHORT PEOPLE PROBLEMS.
I read many books with short petite girls who SHOW THE WORLD WHO IS BOSS but punching evil in the kneecaps and climbing mountains despite their short stature. But somehow books fail to mention how these humans also: (A) can’t reach those high cupboards, (B) get leaned on and used as elbow rests, (C) get forgotten because they’re smol and often sat on, (D) can’t lift regular sized weapons / bags / continents, (E) get asked if they’re twelve years old when they’re actually nineteen. *
Small people are NOT just cute pocket sized heroes. They also have to jump to reach the cupboard where you keep the glasses for water. Why is this not in more books.
* Am I speaking from experience??? You’ll never know.
4. EVERYONE SMELLS LIKE A COUPLE OF DAISIES.
If I had a dollar for every time some book boy smelt like “MASCULINITY AND PINE TREES AND CINNAMON” I would be able to afford the therapy for the idiotic heroine who believed that after walking for 2 months in the wilderness with him. Because no. People smell. Boys stink. In fact, boys stink recreationally if they’re outside for more then three seconds.
And why is it always cinnamon??
NEWSFLASH: if you do not bathe = you stink.
5. THEY DON’T HAVE OVERTIRED MELTDOWNS.
Just me? Surely not just me. Tell me you can exist on 2 hours of sleep + 22 hours of hard physical exertion and not just sit down in the dusty road in the middle of your quest and start CRYING FOR NO APPARENT REASON. Except the reason is lack of sleep. Unfortunately, we need it. * Unfortunately we get unreasonable without it. Just ask your parents how they handled you at 4 months old when you never slept.
CHARACTERS NEED TO SLEEP. And if they don’t, they need to act like it!!
* Ignore my earlier post where I said we don’t need sleep. That post was written by the One True Cait. This post is being typed up by my secretarial dog who’s working fast because the One True Cait is off eating a sandwich instead of, you know, being helpful and blogging.
6. EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS EVERYONE ELSE’S CRYPTIC EYEBROW COMMUNICATIONS.
There’s nothing worse than “her eyes asked a thousand questions and he answered them with his eyebrows” which I SWEAR happens all the time in books. Look sometimes humans don’t even understand when people use their mouths for talking. We all just kind of stand there like “Huh” because we are so intelligent.
Use your words. Not your eyes / eyebrows / how you combed your hair to communicate. And we wonder why relationships never last in books, sheesh.
7. NOBODY HAS AWKWARD ALLERGIES.
Allergy representation is really thoroughly low in books WHICH IS A DYING SHAME. Literally. Because a lot of the rest of us are dying of hayfever here and would like a book character to die pleasantly beside.
I desperately want to see warriors going on a quest and having to pause for one chap who has hayfever. And also that awkward moment in a contemporary when the love interest throws a glorious picnic for their OTP only to find their allergic to bread and die in their arms. #beautifultragedy
Also allergies are really common??? Stop ignoring them, dear books???
8. PARENTS KNOW WHAT THEIR CHILDREN’S NAMES ARE.
This is absolute RUBBISH obviously because the reason parents refer to their children as “darling” and “sweetie” and “hey you” is because they don’t remember what they named their kids. My parentals cycle through 4 to 5 names before they hit on mine. Parents who call their kids the right name every. single. time. are an author’s most unrealistic fantasy.
9. EVERYONE IS IN LOVE.
Like 1 girl + 7 boys = the book. And then we get a jolly love-heptagon and also hell breaks loose with rage amongst the readers. So what I’m saying is realistically two things often happen as well, being: (1) a group of people has a more even balance of genders in it, or (2) that one girl has got NO FREAKING INTEREST in any of the seven boys.
It happens. People can be friends.
Look at Snow White. Single independent young women who lived with seven male housemates and managed to call them rude names, micromanage their lives, be with boys day in and day out, and not fall in love with any. BOOM. *
* Look, let’s not talk about her questionable choice of fruit and stranger-danger awareness.
10. DRAGONS WANT TO EAT PIDDLY HUMANS.
What is it with all these dragons out to attack countrysides and burn humans and eat them in one gulp? Because, excuse you, I think dragons have better taste than that. Humans don’t even have a lot of meat on them. Plus can you imagine how bitter they’d be???? A dragon would be like “here, one roasted human and fifteen tonnes of sugar to try mellow out their sarcastic bitter attitude born from anxiety and damaged self image”.
Books need to stop promoting that dragons want to eat people. They want to eat mammoths, cows, leviathans, chocolate pudding, and crisp apple pies.